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Timothy Fadek June 13, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mexico.
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Dance Hall. Juárez, Mexico

Timothy Fadek is a photojournalist based in New York City. He began his career in December 1998, covering the presidential campaign and election in Venezuela, on assignment for the Associated Press. Since then, he has photographed conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, Kosovo, Macedonia, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Haiti, the 9/11 attack in New York and regularly covers important political and social issues. His photographs and stories have been published in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, German Geo, Le Monde, and Stern, among others. He has won a number of awards, including Pictures of the Year (POY), NPPA Year in Pictures, the CARE Prize for Humanitarian Reportage, Communication Arts photo annual, American Photography annual, and recently, American Photo named him a hero of photography. Timothy also teaches photography as an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was made inside a dance hall, with women lined up and waiting for men to ask them to dance. The women charge 5 pesos, approximately 50 cents (U.S.) for a dance. I was wandering the streets one night, trying to capture the sleaze and atmosphere of the city. I had heard about Ficherias (dance halls), wandered in, sat down, had a beer, and observed the scene.”

There is a saying in the area that, if you want to find Juárez, located just across the border from El Paso, Texas, just follow the crosses. Fadek made several trips to the troubled Mexican border town Juárez, to document a ghastly legacy — the murders of hundreds of women over the past decade. “Once you get into the grips of the Mexican authorities it’s a black hole, and you can simply disappear. You just want to be invisible. You can’t trust anyone in this city. Every journalist who ever does this story eventually becomes paranoid. Every person on the street becomes suspicious.” Most Americans are unaware that this city has been the center of an epidemic of horrific crimes against women and girls. Since 1993, more than 450 young women, many of them workers at U.S. and foreign assembly plants, have been murdered in this tough Mexican-border factory city. Hundreds more women have disappeared. The victims are kidnapped, raped, and mutilated before being killed, their bodies then dumped in the dusty fields in the surrounding desert areas of the city.

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